Press release from The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence:
According to a report in today’s Washington Post, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) could suffer budget cuts of almost 13 percent, which would effectively eliminate Project Gunrunner, a program designed to combat gun-trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico.
“Any cuts to the already under-staffed and under-funded ATF would be a setback,” said Brady Center President Paul Helmke, “but the kinds of cuts that are rumored would be devastating to the ATF’s ability to interrupt the flow of illegal guns across America and Mexico. Worst of all, though, would be for the Obama Administration to pursue these cuts without pushing to implement strong, commonsense gun laws, such as those to ban large-capacity ammunition magazines, assault weapons, and closing the gun show loophole.
“These laws would be more effective and efficient because they offer a pro-active means — instead of a reactive one — to stemming the flow of guns to Mexican drug cartels and to criminals and gangs on America’s streets. Not having an ATF director in place is also problematic. If we don’t get these new laws and ATF has to absorb substantial cuts, our nation will have effectively surrendered to the purveyors of the most massive gun violence in the U.S. and Mexico.”
As the Brady Center reported two years ago, the drug gangs are arming themselves largely from American gun sellers, exploiting loopholes in American laws. Traffickers buy assault weapons in bulk from dealers, or at gun shows without a background check. The Mexican President has pleaded with the U.S. to bring sanity to our laws, and plug those loopholes – which also cause untold bloodshed and crime in America as well.
Our leaders in Washington, in Congress and the White House, have largely ignored those pleas. The Obama Administration’s response was first to intensify ATF enforcement at the border, and more recently proposed to require reporting of multiple sales of assault rifles in the border states, to enable ATF to follow up on likely traffickers.
While these steps might help combat the problem, it would be far more efficient, effective and less expensive to implement stronger laws that require background checks, and bar sales of assault weapons, large capacity magazines, and other military weaponry.